My husband owns a small business and around the holiday season he often gets homemade goodies and gifts. This year I decided to make sure he had something to reciprocate the gesture. So I made tons of homemade extracts and a dried salsa mix. If you want to do this it may be a little late for the extracts - but the dried salsa mix can be whipped up in a flash!
This all started a couple of months ago when my friend, Jessica, shared a recipe with me. We both decided to try it out. The thing that got all this started was Vanilla extract. I am not going to give detailed instructions but I do want you to know how easy it is. There are a lot of website that have detailed recipes.
Anyone who has ever had the Vanilla extract from Mexico knows how good it is. The stuff we get in the stores doesn't compare. This is right up there with that Mexican Vanilla extract!
So I set to work on the Internet and bought some nice Vanilla beans. After those were ordered I went to my local liquor store and picked up vodka - lots and lots of vodka.
The extract was so easy to make! Simply use 5 - 6 beans per 8 ounces of vodka. You want to score the beans lengthwise before you drown them in the vodka. You can use rum if you want but I went the vodka route. I put it in a dark area and shook it at least twice a week. After about 8 weeks you will have some amazing Vanilla extract. If you make a bottle for yourself just keep adding the liquor as you use it. You want to make sure to keep the vanilla beans covered in liquid at all times.
I had to try different kinds so I made Lemon, Orange, and Cinnamon too. If you make citrus based extracts simply zest the rind. All you want is the outer most part of the rind. If you get the white (pith) it will impart a bitter taste. I used three large oranges per pint of vodka. For the lemon I used about five lemons. I stopped zesting and just used a peeler. It was easier for me.
|Homemade Cinnamon Extract|
|Homemade Lemon Extract|
I lucked out at state surplus a couple of months ago and bought several cases of two ounce bottles. You can order bottles online or get some really cute ones at a craft store.
Now for the dried salsa mix. I made tons of this stuff. This doesn't even have to be a bottle. You can use some small bags and tie them off with cute bows!
|Dried salsa mix|
The recipe calls for:
1 1/2 cup dried Cilantro
1 teaspoon Garlic powder (more to taste)
1/2 cup dried chopped onion
1/4 cup dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
And of course I had to add my spin on it. I added more red pepper flakes, a little bit of Cumin and some jalepeno powder to taste.
I bottled it up and added the instructions with a label.
To make salsa add two tablespoons of the mix to a 10 ounce can of mexican tomatoes and blend well.
To make a dip/spread add two tablespoons of salsa mix to one cup of softened sour cream and blend well. Serve with vegetables or crackers.
Sounds simple... right? It is!
What are your holiday handouts?